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'Assaults are on the rise': Sask. federal correctional officers sound the alarm over escalating violence

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The Union of Canadian Correctional Officers is voicing urgent concerns over what they describe as escalating violence within federal facilities.

James Bloomfield, a representative of the union, reported a troubling increase in assaults and mental health issues among officers.

"We're finding that federal corrections officers are pretty much in crisis right now. Assaults are on the rise. Mental health injuries from assault in our environment are through the roof. We're at over a 54 per cent rate within five years of being an officer," Bloomfield said.

Acknowledging the inherent dangers of their profession, the union stresses that the current level of violence has become untenable.

"We also understand that this job comes with its dangers, but my job is not to be assaulted," Bloomfield said.

The union has been seeking assistance from Correctional Service Canada since September last year but claims that their calls for help have gone unanswered.

"We have been asking for help from the leadership from Corrections Canada since September of last year, and we've still received no answers on how they're going to help us with these number of assaults, and how they're going to help us reduce these numbers," Bloomfield said.

The situation has escalated to what the union describes as a crisis point, prompting discussions about potential job actions.

"It's compounded to a point of crisis at this point, we need some changes immediately. We've tried everything out, and we'll continue to speak out as loud as we need to make sure that there are some changes," said Bloomfield.

A protest had been planned in Saskatoon for today, but it was canceled due to poor weather conditions. CTV reached out to Correctional Services Canada and the federal government, and did not receive a response.

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